August 31, 2017

What happens to the brain without oxygen?

The head, and more specifically, the brain is the most critical part of our body. Unfortunately, there are a number of injuries in this region we are susceptible to. Being educated on the various types of ailments can raise awareness, and hopefully in the long run, expedite the presence of preventive measures and treatment. In particular, this article will focus specifically on anoxia as it relates to the brain. Although there exist a variety of types triggered by a number of causes, the primary effect is your brain being cut off from an oxygen supply. When a part of your body is deprived of oxygen, it’s called hypoxia, and anoxia is the result. Brain cells that succumb to hypoxia for over 4 minutes will begin to die.

Generally, there are two broader causes for hypoxia that lead to the specific types of anoxia. If an individual has recently suffered from a blot clot or a stroke, the blood flow to the brain can experience blockage and slow down. This makes the brain’s job as the control center all the more taxing. The same decrease in blood flow can occur from heart issues as well. A second broad array of causes occurs when the blood flow is regular, but it is simply not carrying enough oxygen. Whether you are in an environment where high altitude is limiting your supply, are exposed to certain toxins such as carbon monoxide, or simply have your breathing function disrupted, it can incite hypoxia. When an individual is subjected to suffocation or drowning for example, there is an increased chance they will develop a hypoxia-anoxia brain injury if the event extends long enough to begin killing brain cells.

Depending on the length and severity of the event, anoxia can produce a wide range of symptoms. The more innocuous symptoms may include periodic headaches, feelings of confusion or disorientation, and bodily weakness. The gravity of the symptoms, however, can worsen to include memory loss as well as changes in mood and personality and even problems with movement. On the other end of the spectrum, the risk for more deleterious symptoms comes after the four-minute threshold period. Seizures, hallucinations, and in some instance, death can occur. It is important to be aware of the potential ways your body can react to anoxic events so you can find treatment options as early as possible. Additionally, different regions within the brain are more sensitive to the effects of anoxia such as the cerebellum and the hippocampus. The resulting symptoms make sense given that these parts of the brain control memory and movement respectively.

As is the case with most brain injuries, there is a substantial risk of incurring long-term damage. Given both the symptomology variety and anoxia type, treatment options can vary. Through Plasticity Brain Center’s extensive knowledge and experience with myriad brain injuries, we have developed strong methods to redevelop the structure of the brain. Our assessments and targeted practice has allowed previous patients to improve their muscle tone, increase alertness/communication, and redevelop better digestion. Regardless of the patient, a baseline evaluation is conducted, which then leads to a personalized treatment plan. In order to maximize the individual’s results, they are exposed to different therapeutic options such as occupational, physical, and sensory integration as well as physical exercise. After the patient undergoes their diagnostic testing, these are customized and tailored for the individual.

Depending on the severity, the patient may struggle to return to baseline. Rehabilitation and support will provide the means to maximize recovery from the brain damage. In terms of prevention, there is specific methodology that the individual can utilize that will decrease their risk of subjecting their body to reduced oxygen flow. Overexposure to chemical toxins and smoke inhalation can lead to this type of injury. Take steps to install carbon monoxide detectors and limit your intake from cigarettes or other forms of smoke. For circumstances where an individual suffers from an asthmatic condition, anemia, or was exposed to high altitudes, it is important to keep an eye on their symptoms so the issue can be addressed as early as possible. In more extreme situations such as drowning, choking, and shock, it helps to take precautionary steps to make sure you are a loved one’s safety is paramount. We recognize preventive strategies can be difficult to implement, but that is why Plasticity Brain Centers is here to help restore your brain functioning.


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